Moderate scoring systems

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JECE
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#41 Post by JECE » Sun Aug 28, 2022 4:38 am

Thanks for acknowledging my perspective, Theodoric. One thing that I forgot to mention is that WTA scoring comes with the nasty side effect of players not playing for the win, given the perception that there is so much to lose. I find this behavior unfortunate given that it encourages ending games prematurely. With WTA games, I believe that players are too often tempted to set up a stalemate line than go for the win, or even to draw the game before any stalemate positions are set up.

You're right, of course, that France in your scenario could try to pull something off.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#42 Post by RoganJosh » Sun Aug 28, 2022 5:39 am

JECE wrote:
Tue Aug 23, 2022 1:13 am
I will, however, reiterate my opposition to scoring systems where draws are not shared equally:
JECE wrote:
Fri Jan 28, 2022 7:32 pm
The very first page of the rules demand that draws be shared "equally". Any evaluation of player performance (such as SoS scoring) that does not honor the requirement that draws be shared equally does not honor the object of the game known as Diplomacy.

"OBJECT OF THE GAME: As soon as one Great Power controls 18 supply centers, it’s considered to have gained control of Europe. The player representing that Great Power is the winner. However, players can end the game by agreement before a winner is determined. In this case, all players who still have pieces on the game board share equally in a draw."
So please, let's not bring back a version of PPSC scoring that violates the rules like SoS scoring does.
I wouldn't put much weight on that rule.

For those interested, Calhamer's view on draws was expressed in an article from 1974: http://www.diplomacy-archive.com/resour ... ctives.htm. It's an interesting read. A few paragraphs stand out.
Calhamer wrote: The assumption behind the 18 centre victory criterion is that, given 18 units to a disunited combination of only 16 units, the leader can in general eventually conquer the whole board. Thus, no country survives except his own. Critics have claimed that there are positions in which certain countries could survive by stalemate, or by regaining a combination of 17 or more units; consequently, the notion that a country gaining 18 units could sweep the board is not invariably correct. It is my opinion that this point is of negligible importance, because almost all of the games will not come out that way, and because the victory criterion must have some hard and fast definition, and because it takes a long time to acquire 18 units as it is. Indeed, I would prefer some standard such as 16 or 12 units, or the biggest power after the elapse of a predetermined amount of time (real or game); except for the fact that such low victory criteria are unusually subject to upset by threats to "throw" the game to one country or another.

Following the assumption that a power holding 18 units can sweep the board, it then appears that no power has survived the game unless he has achieved either a win or a draw. The reward for a draw, then, is the reward for survival in a dangerous world.

The notion that all players sharing in the draw share equally reflects in part the considerable and logical difference between survival and elimination; anyone who has survived into the draw might conceivably win if the game went on, but no one eliminated can do so.
I'm sure you can read a lot into these words. My main take away is that ... Calhamer did not realize the importance of stalemate lines. And he was under the impression that most games would end with a solo, if they were played to their natural ending. (I guess he though that diplomacy would determine the outcome of the game, and not the silly tactics of stalemate lines.)

But Calhamer was ... under false impressions. And it seems unreasonable to consider ourselves beholden to Calhamer's rule, given how big effect the choice of scoring system has on players approach to the game.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#43 Post by JECE » Sun Aug 28, 2022 6:09 am

pyxxy wrote:
Sat Aug 27, 2022 5:47 pm
I understood the webdip explanation I was just trying to confirm what system you are advocating for being (re)added to webdip. In case you had a change of opinion over the last decade :lol:
Who knows, I might have proposed a tweak over the last decade, ha ha. In this thread I am talking about untweaked PPSC scoring. Theodoric proposed something entirely different, of course.
pyxxy wrote:
Sat Aug 27, 2022 5:47 pm
So it's this one then?
- Point Per Supply Center owned at game end, except solos where it's 18 points to a soloist and the other (surviving) players receive their # of sc / 16 points

I'm still unsure about a corner case. What happens if the surviving players control less than 16 supply centers as a whole?

Do the survivors still only get a point per supply center they control? Or does it do a proportionality thing e.g. # of sc / total sc held by survivors * 16?
As I understand it, the pot is distributed proportionally. The entire pot has to be distributed to players after the game ends, and the soloist is limited to winning nine seventeenths of the pot. So eight seventeenths of the pot is divided proportionally amongst the surviving great powers (those who didn't win) based on the number of supply centers they control at the end of the game. Neutral supply centers are ignored. I haven't checked the code, but this is my understanding.

PPSC scoring was changed such that the winner is limited to nine seventeenths of the pot so that the winner doesn't try prolonging a game that is already won to gain a few extra points (19/34 of the pot, for example). Of course, if all other players resign (enter civil disorder), or the winner manages to win the game with all 34 supply centers, then the winner takes the whole pot.
pyxxy wrote:
Sat Aug 27, 2022 5:47 pm
"My main argument for PPSC scoring is based on encouraging CD takeovers and thus quality of play for new users."
We should have 5 years for data for this now, if we can rope an admin into looking :P
"Hell, my first four games on webDip (phpDiplomacy at the time) were games I joined in progress to learn the ropes as small Great Powers in difficult positions where simply surviving was a challenge and the goal was to expand modestly and draw if possible. Without PPSC all this is now impossible."
I guess I'm capable of the impossible XD
They made it free to join games that are already in play. So it's hardly comparable, ha ha.
pyxxy wrote:
Sat Aug 27, 2022 5:47 pm
PPSC is definitely an interesting gray area in the rules:
JECE wrote:
Fri Jan 28, 2022 7:32 pm
The very first page of the rules demand that draws be shared "equally". Any evaluation of player performance (such as SoS scoring) that does not honor the requirement that draws be shared equally does not honor the object of the game known as Diplomacy.

"OBJECT OF THE GAME: As soon as one Great Power controls 18 supply centers, it’s considered to have gained control of Europe. The player representing that Great Power is the winner. However, players can end the game by agreement before a winner is determined. In this case, all players who still have pieces on the game board share equally in a draw."
since they do not explicitly say "In the event of a Great Power winning, you may not reward losers for their efforts.

I think it's funny that it says "pieces" and not "controls centers". That basically invalidates every existing scoring system, webdip or otherwise, right? I can't think of any that count pieces.

So by the letter of the law, any system that doesn't count pieces for draw participation is against the rules.

Suffice to say, I think that trying to use the original game rules as a way to argue for or against the usage of any scoring system is a bit ridiculous. It's Diplomacy Textualism. The rules should be a foundation, not a cage.
Try drawing a game when you're in the retreats/disbandments phase and see how it works out for ya. Counting pieces is exactly how WTA/DSS scoring works.
pyxxy wrote:
Sat Aug 27, 2022 5:47 pm
If I'm ignoring any rules-based arguments for or against PPSC, which I'm glad I went back and read and so I thank you for linking me them, I'm back to just behavioral arguments, yeah?

But then I think I'm currently stuck on basically what CaptainMeme wrote ~5 years ago:
"In reality, stalemates are an extremely important part of Diplomacy. The entire endgame revolves around making or breaking them, and that's the way it was designed. PPSC destroys this by making it better for a larger power to allow another power to reach 18 supply centers than to draw, so stalemate lines should never be formed in PPSC - someone behind them will always benefit from throwing the game."
https://webdiplomacy.net/forum.php?thre ... hreadPager

I'm so indoctrinated by WTA as the norm that I've never given any serious thought to giving points to survivors of a solo win. Personally I would find it distasteful to be rewarded for being Vichy France :razz:

Similarly I agree with Calhamar:
However, in the final battle to prevent the leader from winning, one would normally expect the second place player to be the leader of the opposition. Consequently, something must be detracted from his achievement because he must bear some of the responsibility for the failure in the final battle.
If I'm understanding everything correctly, your version of PPSC does not have WTA scoring in the event of a Great Power controlling 18+ centers.

To me, as Calhamar said, that would seem to encourage allowing or aiding a player to reach 18+ centers, which to me is not a behavior that I want in my games.

For the record I also hate draw whittling in DSS.

This leaves me wanting a different option entirely added to webdip :razz: and makes me feel much better about the tribute-based scoring system that we use for Nexus Leagues.
If you're playing for a win, stalemate lines should never be formed. I think that I proved that pretty decisively when the 2012 World Cup ended in 2016. Stalemate lines are a dead end that stop a game in its tracks before a player can clinch 18 supply centers.

Not that it matters, since you're quoting a post by captainmeme where he used stalemate lines as a way to counter the straw man argument that "you should allow someone else to reach 18 if you're doing well". Since nobody was arguing that on this thread, his point about stalemate lines isn't particularly relevant. I did respond to him on the next page anyway, though, in case you're curious.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#44 Post by JECE » Sun Aug 28, 2022 6:33 am

RoganJosh wrote:
Sun Aug 28, 2022 5:39 am
JECE wrote:
Tue Aug 23, 2022 1:13 am
I will, however, reiterate my opposition to scoring systems where draws are not shared equally:
JECE wrote:
Fri Jan 28, 2022 7:32 pm
The very first page of the rules demand that draws be shared "equally". Any evaluation of player performance (such as SoS scoring) that does not honor the requirement that draws be shared equally does not honor the object of the game known as Diplomacy.

"OBJECT OF THE GAME: As soon as one Great Power controls 18 supply centers, it’s considered to have gained control of Europe. The player representing that Great Power is the winner. However, players can end the game by agreement before a winner is determined. In this case, all players who still have pieces on the game board share equally in a draw."
So please, let's not bring back a version of PPSC scoring that violates the rules like SoS scoring does.
I wouldn't put much weight on that rule.

For those interested, Calhamer's view on draws was expressed in an article from 1974: http://www.diplomacy-archive.com/resour ... ctives.htm. It's an interesting read. A few paragraphs stand out.
Calhamer wrote: The assumption behind the 18 centre victory criterion is that, given 18 units to a disunited combination of only 16 units, the leader can in general eventually conquer the whole board. Thus, no country survives except his own. Critics have claimed that there are positions in which certain countries could survive by stalemate, or by regaining a combination of 17 or more units; consequently, the notion that a country gaining 18 units could sweep the board is not invariably correct. It is my opinion that this point is of negligible importance, because almost all of the games will not come out that way, and because the victory criterion must have some hard and fast definition, and because it takes a long time to acquire 18 units as it is. Indeed, I would prefer some standard such as 16 or 12 units, or the biggest power after the elapse of a predetermined amount of time (real or game); except for the fact that such low victory criteria are unusually subject to upset by threats to "throw" the game to one country or another.

Following the assumption that a power holding 18 units can sweep the board, it then appears that no power has survived the game unless he has achieved either a win or a draw. The reward for a draw, then, is the reward for survival in a dangerous world.

The notion that all players sharing in the draw share equally reflects in part the considerable and logical difference between survival and elimination; anyone who has survived into the draw might conceivably win if the game went on, but no one eliminated can do so.
I'm sure you can read a lot into these words. My main take away is that ... Calhamer did not realize the importance of stalemate lines. And he was under the impression that most games would end with a solo, if they were played to their natural ending. (I guess he though that diplomacy would determine the outcome of the game, and not the silly tactics of stalemate lines.)

But Calhamer was ... under false impressions. And it seems unreasonable to consider ourselves beholden to Calhamer's rule, given how big effect the choice of scoring system has on players approach to the game.
I agree with you that Calhamer probably didn't realize the importance of stalemate lines, let alone design the game around them as suggested in captainmeme'a quote from five years ago that pyxxy highlighted. My takeaway, not having finished the article, which has already been raised in this thread as support for WTA scoring, is that Calhamer's opinion about the merits of 2nd-place finishes should be taken with a grain of salt.

I do not think that his supposed failure to realize the importance of stalemate lines is relevant to whether we should credit players who draw the game equally. Calhamer's very next paragraph, right after your quote above, provides a very good reason for sharing draws equally that has nothing to do with stalemate lines:
Calhamer wrote: Some people have objected that a player having 10 units is entitled to more credit than one having only one unit when a draw is agreed upon. One answer to this notion is that draws are agreed upon; consequently any player who objects to equal credit for the smaller powers can refuse to agree, for a few moves, while he proceeds to knock out the smaller powers, and more than one larger power can agree to so proceed before voting the draw. Now, if it is still impossible to get rid of those tiny powers, they must have something going for them within the game which is operating to ensure their survival: possibly a position in which it is very difficult to knock them out, or a friendly power holding them up, or a situation in which the would-be attackers cannot agree on which of them should get the territory; whatever the reason is, the tiny power has achieved survival within the game.

Giving equal credit to all those sharing in the draw also encourages the smallest power to fight for the draw, instead of giving up without a fight. If they give up without a fight, the larger powers may not get a draw either, since the leader may benefit from their collapse and win.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#45 Post by RoganJosh » Sun Aug 28, 2022 6:29 pm

Sure, there are good arguments in favor of DSS. All I'm saying is that "It's in the rulebook" is not one of them.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#46 Post by pyxxy » Sun Aug 28, 2022 6:43 pm

JECE wrote:
Sun Aug 28, 2022 6:09 am
They made it free to join games that are already in play. So it's hardly comparable, ha ha.
Ah, didn't know it wasn't always that way. Does seem to have solved the problem though?
JECE wrote:
Sun Aug 28, 2022 6:09 am
Try drawing a game when you're in the retreats/disbandments phase and see how it works out for ya. Counting pieces is exactly how WTA/DSS scoring works.
It's literally not how WTA/DSS works.

A soloist will almost always have less than 18 units under their control when they reach the winning threshold of 18+ centers. WTA/DSS on this site and everywhere that I've ever encountered count that as a win precisely because they count centers and not units.

If a power has 1 center and 1 unit, and the sole unit is force disbanded in the spring and the board votes to draw in the fall i.e. after the spring has been fully adjudicated, I have never encountered a scoring system that would consider that player eliminated, which is what the original rules say.

I wondered if you meant that WebDip scored DSS/WTA like this so I went into the code and found that it doesn't:
https://github.com/kestasjk/webDiplomac ... s.php#L161

DSS/WTA for WebDip gives points to every player with the status "Playing" which means hasn't left and hasn't been defeated, where defeated is 0 centers and 0 units.
https://github.com/kestasjk/webDiplomac ... m.php#L107

But I get the impression that you do agree with my original point? Which is that the original game rules are not a productive tool for advocating for or against using any particular scoring system, even as they do provide helpful guidance for how to play the game both literally and behaviorally.
JECE wrote:
Sun Aug 28, 2022 6:09 am
If you're playing for a win, stalemate lines should never be formed. I think that I proved that pretty decisively when the 2012 World Cup ended in 2016. Stalemate lines are a dead end that stop a game in its tracks before a player can clinch 18 supply centers.
I disagree. But hey, I wasn't around for that world cup nonsense.

What if I want to hold a stalemate line while trying to convince player B that I will totally help them against player C and totally won't try to solo? Why not have an unbreakable position while attempting this persuasion so that I am 100% confident that I have nothing to lose? I can always walk away from the line if B will do what I want in exchange for my retreat.

Absolutes are meh when talking about Diplomacy :neutral: this goes both ways of course re: any critiques of JECE-PPSC encouraging certain behaviors.
JECE wrote:
Sun Aug 28, 2022 6:09 am
Not that it matters, since you're quoting a post by captainmeme where he used stalemate lines as a way to counter the straw man argument that "you should allow someone else to reach 18 if you're doing well". Since nobody was arguing that on this thread, his point about stalemate lines isn't particularly relevant. I did respond to him on the next page anyway, though, in case you're curious.
I read your old post. You basically just say that this old post from Jamie, which I'll just quote the first part of, is your answer:
"1. PPSC encourages players to go for the win. A pure WTA style scoring approach actually encourages players to draw rather than taking a risk to go for the win, because the danger of losing your stake prompts you to "settle" for a draw. In PPSC you are encouraged to take risks to try for a solo in endgame situations where two players could potentially solo and there is no stalemate yet - whereas in non-PPSC, those two players will probably try to settle for a draw."
Is this really true though? Again with the absolutes.

And like I said this goes both ways. I agreed more with CaptainMeme's argument for PPSC encouraging strong seconds when I first entered this discussion, now I'm less sure that...it's not just a people problem.

I feel like it's more about the players and less about the scoring system. If the players want to draw, they'll find justifications within the scoring system for their opinion.

In your 5+ year old game where you talked about hidden draw votes saving you from being ganged up on. The rest of the players wanted to draw but you did not, and so you didn't draw, and so the game didn't draw at that time.

The DSS+WTA scoring in that game clearly failed to change your behavior. So I don't think it's primarily a scoring system issue. It's a culture issue. If players aren't trying for solos, it's because their hearts aren't in it.

Soloing is definitely something of an advanced skill since a player has to 1) get good enough to get into a solo-able position 2) recognize that the position is solo-able and 3) be brave enough to try to solo. So I'm not blaming anyone for not having it in their hearts or minds. I'm just saying that a lack of solo ambition is not a problem that I see stemming from any particular scoring system.

---

A caveat to all of this is that I really mostly play gunboat with a little press sprinkled throughout the year. And let me tell you, gunboat has no lack of solo ambition. I'm in a game right now that's past 1930 because we're all trying to win. Which is why I think it's more a people/culture/emotional problem than any particular scoring system.

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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#47 Post by RoganJosh » Mon Aug 29, 2022 1:18 pm

pyxxy wrote:
Sun Aug 28, 2022 6:43 pm
I feel like it's more about the players and less about the scoring system. If the players want to draw, they'll find justifications within the scoring system for their opinion.
Agree with this. I'd also like to add that most games are part of a tournament, and the tournament aspects have a bigger impact than the scoring system, at least when it comes to whether players are going for the solo or not.

Think about one of the smaller vFtF tournaments, for example. Three rounds, highest total score wins. Who plays for a solo in the first round? No one does. You don't want to do a high profile stab in the first round, and whoever is top of the table gets a target on their back. A solid draw, get some points on the board, and make sure you're still in it. Doesn't really matter what the scoring system is.

Compare that with a player aiming to get to the top of the Ghost Ratings table here at webDip, or maybe Nexus Leagues. Big "tournaments" with many games. There's going to be plenty of solos. If you don't get them, others will. So if you want a shot at winning the "tournament", then you'll have to play for the solo. Doesn't really matter what the scoring system is.

DSS might be the best example of this. In smaller tournaments, it's disastrous. Everyone is already playing for a draw, and DSS essentially makes the 3WD the optimal outcome. Center counts doesn't matter. No-one wants a reputation as a stabber. So best strategy is to form a 3-way alliance in S01, and just roll the board. Really boring.

Compare with DSS for gunboat games here at webDip. Most serious players are playing for the solo, there's no shortage of incentives there. So to get a good game, you need to incentivize players defending against the solo. And that's where DSS is better than all other scoring systems.

And to get back to your points about players. My feeling is that most players don't really adjust, when they move from one tournament context to another.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#48 Post by JECE » Sun Sep 04, 2022 7:38 am

RoganJosh wrote:
Sun Aug 28, 2022 6:29 pm
Sure, there are good arguments in favor of DSS. All I'm saying is that "It's in the rulebook" is not one of them.
That might be true if the rules were never updated, but they have been updated several times since Calhamer wrote that article:
http://www.diplomacy-archive.com/diplomacy_rules.htm
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#49 Post by Bonatogether » Sun Sep 04, 2022 2:50 pm

Do people actually play to the scoring system outside of tournament games?

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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#50 Post by Bonatogether » Sun Sep 04, 2022 2:51 pm

I don't even check what system it is most of the time

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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#51 Post by Bonatogether » Sun Sep 04, 2022 2:52 pm

@JECE - I believe you mentioned that vDip has 0 SoS games running currently. This is correct, as vDip does not support SoS :lol:

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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#52 Post by JECE » Sun Sep 04, 2022 5:23 pm

Bonatogether wrote:
Sun Sep 04, 2022 2:52 pm
@JECE - I believe you mentioned that vDip has 0 SoS games running currently. This is correct, as vDip does not support SoS :lol:
Oops! Well good for webDip for not enabling SoS scoring, then. It would be as simple to implement as flipping a switch.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#53 Post by JECE » Sun Sep 04, 2022 9:39 pm

JECE wrote:
Sun Sep 04, 2022 5:23 pm
Bonatogether wrote:
Sun Sep 04, 2022 2:52 pm
@JECE - I believe you mentioned that vDip has 0 SoS games running currently. This is correct, as vDip does not support SoS :lol:
Oops! Well good for webDip for not enabling SoS scoring, then. It would be as simple to implement as flipping a switch.
Um, good for vDip :lol:
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